Live generously 

Christmas morning

One of my goals for this year is to “give extravagantly, whenever possible.” There are several reasons why I wanted to make this a priority.

Several months ago, something happened that hurt me greatly. So much so, that I had to ask for advice on what to do because I felt my heart becoming cold. I don’t feel it would be appropriate or necessary to give details, but I will say it involved the issue of generosity.

Since then, some other incidents have taken place (some good, some bad) and as a result, I’ve found myself examining the issue of generosity closely.

What is generosity? Why is it important? And what does God have to say about it?

I believe generosity can involve many things …

You can be generous with your money and resources (the most obvious kind of generosity): Everything we have is a blessing. God gives, and God takes away. I serve the most generous God and I am called to be like Him — so why would I choose to live my life in a stingy, selfish way? If I can give good gifts, I should. Now, I don’t always have the money to be lavish with what I give. But there are times when God calls me to step out in faith and give, even when I don’t think I can. We’ve had a lot of weddings to attend this year and my husband and I had to talk through what we felt called to give. Since our wedding, I have felt strongly that this is an opportunity to bless. We may not be able to give as much as some people, but we want the couple to feel loved, supported and encouraged as they begin their lives together.

I was also challenged in my day to day financial generosity by my older sister. One day, she was telling me how whenever our younger sister can, she offers to pay for things: coffee, contributing groceries to dinners, etc. At first, I felt like this was some sort of jab at me. But I began to think of it instead as a challenge: in what areas of my life can I give more? I’m so thankful for my sisters and the way they make me want to be a better woman!

You can be generous with your time: Volunteering comes to mind with this, but additionally, the gift of literally just sitting with someone and talking/listening to them is amazing. I had the opportunity to nanny for a beautiful family this summer and one of the greatest blessings was when I had a chance to talk with the mom. She shared her life with me and in turn, I felt she opened the door for me to share my life with her. She has four children, has been married much longer than I and she has great life experience. I so appreciate her friendship and her willingness to share her time with me. I want to be that person for other people.

You can be generous with your words: I knew that words of affirmation meant a lot to me, but I don’t think I realized just how much I valued them until recently. I love getting mail- ask my husband! I look in our mailbox everyday, hoping for a note from someone! Before my birthday, my mother-in-law sent me two cards with gift cards in both. But ask Ricky what made me happier, the cards or the gift cards? The cards! I was grinning ear to ear like a little kid on Christmas! Words mean so much to me. To know that someone is thinking of me gives me so much happiness. The feeling of being loved and cared for is something that can be conveyed so beautifully through words. So I don’t want to hold back. Compliment people, text them, encourage them. To some people, it will make all the difference in the world.

You can give of your talents, your wisdom, your love … The list goes on and on.

I have been so incredibly blessed to be raised by parents who exemplify living generously every single day. They inspire me. They have shown me what it means to be selfless in a world that increasingly tells us we will only find happiness through being selfish. I want to be more like them. But more importantly, I want to be like my Heavenly Father. Look around you and consider all He has given us. The beauty of islands, the sound of laughter, the fresh scent of a fall day. He is the  original gift-giver and while no one can match His generosity, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world where people tried?

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Proverbs 11:24

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:37-38

13 thoughts on “Live generously 

  1. I love generosity! We have been on the receiving end many times since Brinley’s birth. Often times people feel as if they are doing something insignificant but it ends up being such provision from God. One of my favorite ways to be generous is listening. I try to be sensitive to those around me and what they are going through. Sometimes all it takes to bless someone is to allow them to vent, or process something out loud.

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  2. Generosity has touched my life in so many aspects of life. One way comes to mind specifically. As you know I did YWAM—generally as a ‘YWAMer’ your faith is tested in that you have to fully surrender to God and rely on him to provide EVERYTHING. Something that tested my faith especially was finances. I am so fortunate in that people that I’ve known and have stayed in touch with to people that I barely even know anymore donated financially (and prayerfully) and supported me through those six months. However, there was a group of probably fifty students in my class that didn’t have all of their funds for outreach or even the school. As a school we dedicated one day of class to prayer and giving faithfully. During that time I am pretty sure about $90,000 was raised and everyone who hadn’t had all of their funding left that day with a smile and a sigh of relief because God provided! To me it was incredible to see that all of us students who just barely raised support for ourselves were able to donate generously and in FAITH. God is so good and it’s encouraging to see people with a mindset knowing that the money we have isn’t ours, ultimately it’s God’s. Just by trusting him he will use people you’d never expect to do amazing and generous things!

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  3. At my church I have these Wednesday night youth group things. The first time I ever went to youth group (last year) the youth group paster was so nice to me and introduced me to these girls, the generosity out of these girls was so unbelievable. Well first off I’m really shy when meeting new people, and these girls just made me stop feeling shy. Ever since that I’ve been in their group. I text them whenever I need prayers, they are truly awesome, unique girls!

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  4. Really enjoyed this post! You are a great writer!

    There have been quite a few times we have been more than blessed by people’s generosity. A time that sticks out to me the most is when my husband and I were really struggling financially at the beginning of our marriage. One day we were left with no food in the house. It was dinner time and we had nothing to eat. At that moment, a friend came to our door with a meal she had prepared for us. I couldn’t believe the timing of her arrival. I could only attribute it to God and his love for us.

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  5. I love this post for so many reasons! I’ve been contemplating how God has been pressing on my heart to reach out despite my busy circumstances. Very challenging topic! Thank you for sharing yourself especially with my littles!

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  6. You are so Amazing!!! You have already blown me/us away with your great generosity to me and my family!!! I love you and am so glad to be on the same continent as you 🙂 I sure did miss you

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  7. So beautifully written Stephanie. I hope I was one who gave generously to you. I sure did try. Even though our time together was brief, I was (and still am) touched by you,. I am still praying for you….

    Liked by 1 person

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